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Full text of "The Egyptian Problem"

OH. IX
SOCIAL CHARACTERISTICS
157
at all than the forms of Western knowledge imparted in the Europeanised schools and colleges under State control. The small Coptic minority numbers less than one million. Like other races elsewhere that have been excluded from political power, it has developed a great aptitude for the more elementary forms of finance. Copts have been employed as revenue collectors under every successive regime, and well into Mehemet All's time the Coptic year (different from both the Mahomedan and the Christian year) was used as the Egyptian financial year. To the present day Copts are employed in considerable numbers under the Finance Department. They are scattered all over the country as money-changers and money-lenders and petty traders. Thanks very largely to American missions, many of them have now received a measure of Western education, and not a few men of wealth and large estates are found amongst them. Until quite recently they kept very much aloof from their Mahomedan fellow-countrymen, whom they regarded with intense jealousy and distrust, and it was a bitter grievance with them that, after the Occupation, the British refused to give them, as a Christian community, preferential treatment over the Mahomedans. But now quite a number of them have joined the Nationalist cause with a great show of enthusiasm. There are Copts even in the Nationalist Delegation, and Coptic priests have paraded the streets in Nationalist demonstrations arm in arm with Mahomedan Ulema, and have even been allowed to enter the mosques and preach Egyptian fraternity from their pulpits. I cannot say that all this effusive fraternisation impresses me very much, as I witnessed similar scenes in Constantinople after the Turkish revolution, when during the short honeymoon of Turkish Nationalism Armenian and Greek priests also went about arm in arm with turbaned Mollahs, which did not prevent the old story of Christian massacres repeating itself soon afterwards all over Turkey. I am more inclined to believe what some Copts havesponsive